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Joe Lynn Turner

Interview with Joe Lynn Turner from Joe Lynn Turner
by Grigoris Chronis at 15 March 2005, 8:05 AM

From Fandango to Rainbow - from Yngwie Malmsteen to Deep Purple and (of course) on his own; the magnificent voice of Joe Lynn Turner has been, is and will always be a vital element of Rock/Heavy Metal's ever-evolving life. A no doubt multicolored musician in terms of experience in all the fields of our favorite genres (Rock-related always), now releasing another musical gem, The Usual Suspects. Grigoris was assigned with the honorable quest of doing this interview. Rockers & metalheads please open your eyes for Mr. Turner!

Joe, greetings from Magazine! Congratulations on your latest release, The Usual Suspects!

Thank you!! Thank you for your support! It is greatly appreciated!

First of all, I must confess I was shocked by the album’s production! Whereas melody flows all over the songs, still the sound is so solid and vivid! You must have put tons of hard work to come up with this production!

We were able to put a lot of work into this recording and thank you for noticing that. That is because we used a lot of home studios and a mobile unit. The great thing about this style of recording is there is no clock ticking away, no worries about how much studio time you are taking. This enhances the creative process. It’s also one of the reasons the album took so long to record. Because we had this luxury of using mobile units and home studios we did not want to sacrifice quality and sometimes quality takes time

So, who are The Usual Suspects? You surely are one, in delivering amazing Melodic/Hard Rock music! Really, how did this title come up? I remember a movie by that name…

It’s understandable that  some people will think I got it from the Kevin Spacey movie, which is a great film by the way. But in actuality that really is not where the album title is from. The guys I write with and who often play on my albums were sitting around and mused about how we have always referred to each other as ’the usual suspects’. And then an idea popped into our heads. We thought, ’what a great name for the album’. The players on this record are people who have always been there for me They have devoted their time, energy and talents when I have been up and down. We all toured together as the JLT All Star Band in the 1990s and they all have played on one or more of my records in the past.

Joe, how was the recording process? You had the chance of working (again) with such credited musicians: Al Pitrelli, Karl Cochran, John O’ Reilly, Paul Morris, Andy Burton, David Z. How difficult is it to cooperate with such experienced artists? Can The Usual Suspects be considered as a team work effort, even if it’s under the Joe Lynn Turner label?

There is no tug of war. These musicians are amazing, some of the best in the business. They give more than 100% of their effort and I am grateful for it. Yes, this CD is certainly a team effort hence the title.

In relation to the JLT album, forgive me if I mention that I like the new album a little better. Is it wrong to say that The Usual Suspects brings back 100% the multi-dimensional JLT sting we all love? It seems to me more creative, with both faster and slower moments… Really, who were the contributors while writing this material?

In some ways it is better written than my previous disc, JLT. It’s got bigger choruses, stronger hooks and amazing production. JLT was more pure Blues Rock. I agree with you that The Usual Suspects is more diverse and you use a perfect term when you say multi-dimensional. Chris Marksbury, who I worked with on JLT returned with some great material. My dear friend and producer, Bob Held contributed. An old friend, Vick Le Car, wrote some songs and I also did a track with Ricky Byrd, who worked with Joan Jett and others.

What’s the feedback you have received so far? I mean, both the Rock Press but also (and maybe most importantly) your fans? In general, from positive to awesome reviews is all I have read ’till now!

It’s all been positive so far on both sides! I am very pleased! And grateful!

Joe, are there any tour plans in support of your latest effort? Will the studio lineup be 100% available to tour with you?

As I email you this interview no tour plans have been made definite yet. There is still talk but I encourage you to check the website for confirmed news. As for a tour lineup of musicians it really depends on who is available. Most of the musicians - the usual suspects - who worked on the CD with me have so many other things going on. In an ideal world it would be great if they could all tour with me but due to their other commitments this may not be possible. Only time will tel!

Frontiers Records can easily be considered as THE premier label for Melodic/Hard Rock music nowadays. Really, how satisfied are you from their support? You know, labels with a big roster can’t always provide efficient management for all artists/bands.

I understand what you mean about labels with a giant roster. I think some labels with big roster do a great job while others do not. It depends on the people and label. Frontiers had been courting me for a solo deal for a long time. So, my management and I decided to take Frontiers up on their offer after they had expressed a sincere interest in my work for many years. So far they are doing an amazing job and really seem to champion the Melodic Rock genre!

Being involved in the Music Industry for so many years, I was wondering: aren’t you fed up yet? What’s the driving force behind the artist Joe Lynn Turner? Eventually, how much strength does the fans’ devotion release at times when shit happens everyday and you wanna quit?

I am fed up with the business aspect absolutely! You are correct in that inspiration and motivation that’s what keeps me going!

Earlier: From Fandango to Rainbow, from Y. Malmsteen to Deep Purple. Later: Joe Lynn Turner goes solo. Anytime: guest appearances to various artist/albums. Which - you consider - are the pros & cons between a vocalist (session, at times) in famous bands Vs a solo artist on his own?

In famous bands the responsibility is evenly distributed. It is not all one person’s shoulders. As a solo artist you are responsible for everything and that can create a bit more pressure.

Would you consider it rude to ask why the Fandango and Y. Malmsteen albums aren’t mentioned in the discography section of your official website (you have to follow a specific link to go to the complete listing)?

No it is not rude to ask but those albums have been listed in the Discography on my website from Day One!! They have always been listed. If you are referring to audio samples that is a different situation. My web team decides what audio samples to include and I trust their opinions but if you have any suggestions just write to them. We recently updated the Discography to include more of the obscure or lesser known projects I have been involved with.

Your first solo effort came out in 1985 (Rescue you; I love it!). Still, it took ten years to see another JLT solo release (Nothing’s Changed - 1995). Are you sure Nothing’s Changed in ten whole years \[Laughs]? Where were you all that time - except for Deep Purple’s Slaves & Masters album of course?

Basically I dropped out of the scene. I was fed up with what happened in Deep Purple and disappointed and all of human nature for awhile. I needed to regroup and recoup. I  concentrated on family and personal things.

A friend of mine some days ago put it straight: Joe Lynn Turner has played almost everything in Rock; just compile a tape with e.g. ’Blame It On The Night’, ’I Surrender’, ’Rising Force’, ’Fortuneteller’ and any Brazen Abbot tune - not to mention his own works - and you have everything from A.O.R. to Metal…. What do you think of this comment? I can point recognition in it…

That is exactly right and thank you! I have covered a lot of bases in my life and that is part of the gift I was given. I can crossover into all those areas.

Apart from your solo career, is there any update concerning the Hughes/Turner Project? Two excellent studio releases, great reviews, awesome gigs (resulting in a live CD)… What’s up next? Glenn also has a new album out, so should we assume that any HTP plans will be put aside for a while?

Right now HTP is on hiatus because of other projects Glenn and I are doing. But certainly I’d love to do another HTP record should the situation and timing be right for both of us.

Really, what’s your opinion on Glenn’s Soul Mover? What’s his opinion on The Usual Suspects? I hope you won’t fight for whose album is better!

I think Glenn’s latest is very artistic and unique. It branches into new territory. Glenn is amazing and I wish him the very best always. I am not sure what Glenn thinks of my new album as he has been on tour in Europe as of this email to you.

Joe, do you keep up - at any level - with today’s musical styles? You know, all this Nu-Metal genre or atmospheric stuff like HI.M., Evanescence or Nightwish? Is there any band / artist, recently, that really made you say thumbs up!!!?

I like so many different types of music but if you are asking about Rock lately I have been into Train, Maroon 5, Nickelback. My publicist recently turned me on to The Calling and Switchfoot and they have some excellent qualities as well. I am sure there are others I just cannot think of them off the top of my head. Evanescence’s Amy Lee has a great voice!

Thanks a lot for your spare time! We hope to see you soon on stage, we really hope so!

Thank you so much for your support and I hope t see you all as well! Peace!


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